History » 1914 - 1919 » Reflections on the Chapel » Letter from Eise

Wish to Enlarge the Chapel

Letter of Albert Eise to their Spiritual Director

Gratitude

The exchange of letters with the soldier Sodalists is firmly conducted. The enthusiasm for it is inevitable when the two of us, Waldbroel and I, study the letters received and rejoice in the zeal for our MTA they reveal.

I thank you with all my heart, Reverend Father, for describing the course you tell me Mary has mapped out for me. I also see it this way. It is an incentive to work even more vigorously to destroy the obstacles on this way, in order to give my Mother a free hand in leading me as quickly as possible to the goal I have long seen as desirable and beautiful. I immediately found this on the letter page next to the picture of our dear Mother Thrice Admirable:

Mother Thrice Admirable, teach me, your knight, to fight, and despite the enemy’s power and numbers to spread chivalrous service to you: So that the world renewed by you may pay your Son the homage due.

Words with the most beautiful content. When I am tempted, which strangely happens with great force when we are in range of the enemy’s guns, and repeat them as a fervent prayer, they have the effect on me of cooling balsam. My life’s ideal exerts an influence not just on my will, but also on my feelings.

The newest idea I had was the thought that we should beautify, and if possible, enlarge our Sodality chapel in gratitude to the Sodalists. I had never thought of this before.

First of all I had the reservation: Destroy the ancient and respected Chapel of St Michael! It would mean that I would never again see the place whre our Mother planted the seeds into my heart. However, we may not judge things in this way. We have to work for the future when the fame of our Mother Thrice Admirable has grown, so that the Chapel of St Michael in its present form will be too poor and too small for the great honour that could be given to her, and for the great proofs of her mother love that could be revealed here. Wouldn’t we be ungrateful if we wanted to do nothing for her? Of course, something will come about if we show our good will, and we have plenty of that. Our Mother is three times admirable and constantly ready to help us. I often thought of this when I knelt before the picture of our Lady of Perpetual Succour in the side chapel of the Church of St Boniface in Berlin.

What would you say, Reverend Father, to the idea of our meeting again? An arrangement of our Mother? It came quite unexpectedly. I had already reported for duty with the company at 11.30 p.m. when all who were born in 1896, and some of those born in 1895, were ordered to go to the recruitment battalion somewhat behind the front. We were all very reluctant to go, but we could do nothing about it. The first free moment I had, I looked for Waldbroel and found him. We greeted each other with great joy. We worked together. We met every evening and discussed our plans, work and successes, and we separated with ‘nos cum prole pia’ as we used to do in Berlin.

(21.8.1916)

At the moment I am on stand by with my company. We had time on our hands, so the magazine of our Mission Section, and the academic mission periodicals were very welcome. When you have not heard about the missions for such a very long time, magazines with such a wealth of information have the effect of refreshing rain on the tender plant of enthusiasm for the missions. So thank you very much to the Mission Section for their apostolic behaviour.

It seems the school year that has now begun will be very fruitful for the Sodality, because it has started so well. Let us hope that some new things will be added during this school year and what is old upheld. I am also beginning a new year in uniform. The day before yesterday it was a year since I saw Berlin for the first time and entered the barracks with my comrades, the majority of whom are already dead. At the time I was happy I was happy to copy my other fellow Sodalists in uniform, and like them to be able to work as a real man. My trust in our heavenly Mother was not small, and she has never forsaken me. She guided me with a strong hand through a thousand dangers in the capital city.

From the letters we wrote in the past year, you, Reverend Father, know how our Mother has led us. You yourself wrote that the way we were led was wonderful and enviable. In actual fact this was really true, of that I am fully aware, so it is also my duty to show gratitude at every opportunity. I want to do everything out of gratitude to promote her honour, and to offer myself to her even more lovingly. Yes, from my birth I have been given to her, and I want to belong to her forever.

Reverned Father, your wish is that as mature priests we will one day glow for Mary’s honour, or else find death now on the battlefield. You have expressed the wish of my heart. Either the one or the other, I have no other desire. Yet in everything may God’s will be done, as Mary wills it. May God grant that she does not want something else, so that I return home as a cripple. I ask you, Reverend Father, to pray for this intention for me, but above all to thank my Mother in a very special way.

Today I have an opportunity to send you, Reverend Father, the 25 Mark that we, Waldbroel and I, promised. I am sending 10 Mark to the MTA for a special intention, the rest is from us two.

(30.9.1916) Albert Eise, sod. Mar.

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